Two weeks after filing a complaint requesting data from the 2022 midterm election in Maricopa County, gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has filed another lawsuit against election officials contesting the election results, alleging voter disenfranchisement and suppression. Lake called for a forensic audit of the printer-tabulator problems, an inspection of ballots and voter registration records, including signatures, disqualification of illegal votes, and redoing the election as well as other relief.
Kurt Olsen, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, told The Arizona Sun Times he believes the election anomalies were “intentional since they didn’t test all of their equipment and follow the appropriate processes when problems arose.” He asked, “Why haven’t they done their own forensic audit 30 days later?”
He said Maricopa County officials’ cavalier attitude about the problems and their lack of trying to find out what happened is telling. “Does anybody believe this widespread failure, oh shucks, just happened?” he wondered.
The complaint alleged that the number of illegal votes cast in the election “far exceeds the 17,117 vote margin” between the two candidates, a difference of .67 percent. It said Democrat Katie Hobbs did not receive the highest number of votes due to illegal votes.
Clay Parikh, a cyber expert who has extensive experience performing security tests on voting systems, including the type used in Maricopa County, stated that due to the lack of certification of some of the voting systems, the numerous procedural violations, the widespread failure of the tabulation process, the failure to provide proper instructions to handle the problem after it started, and the incorrect explanations given to the public, the election failures “can only be described as intentional.”
The complaint alleged that “tens of thousands of mail-in and drop box ballots” did not satisfy signature requirements. Three Maricopa County signature verification employees signed affidavits stating that they rejected signatures as mismatching up to 40 percent of the time. However, when they showed up for work the next day, they would see only about 10 percent of those ballots reappear for signature curing. One of the reviewers believes a manager was approving the mismatched ballots instead.
The complaint cited a previous report by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, which found that the early ballot signature verification used by Maricopa County “may be insufficient to guard against abuse.” An analysis found that bad signatures were rejected 14 times more often during the August primary Election in Maricopa County than during the 2020 General Election.
The lawsuit alleged that between 15,603 and 29,257 Republicans were disenfranchised who would have voted for Lake, according to a calculation performed by data analyst Richard Baris of Big Data Poll who surveyed voters about whether they experienced problems on Election Day. Due to the extremely high numbers of Republicans voting in person on election day, those votes were expected to fall 70 percent to Lake, 30 percent to Hobbs.
The complaint stated that 132 of the county’s 223 vote centers, or 59 percent, were affected, far more than the 70 acknowledged by county officials. It went over county election officials minimizing the problem, refusing to acknowledge the full extent of it, such as the long lines or how long it continued into the day, and provided affidavits from voters regarding how long they waited in line. It cited testimony regarding numerous voters who left without voting. The lawsuit also cited commingling the misread ballots, known as “Door 3” ballots, with tabulated ballots.
The complaint stated that “hundreds of thousands” of mail-in ballots lacked a chain of custody. It said over 298,942 ballots delivered to third-party signature verification service Runbeck on Election Day lacked a chain of custody, a class 2 misdemeanor. A Runbeck employee and other observers provided affidavits regarding witnessing this. The Runbeck employee also stated there were at least 9,530 duplicate ballots printed and issued with no chain of custody. Two days after the election, 25,000 more ballots were found which lacked a chain of custody.
The lawsuit cited an investigation into the 2020 election conducted by We the People AZ Alliance (WPAA), which found many incidents where Arizonans discovered they had been registered to vote or their voter registration had been changed, unbeknownst to them. WPAA reviewed 12.12 percent of the signatures on ballot envelopes in the Maricopa County 2020 election and found that 18,022 were clearly mismatches, and 19,631 failed the Arizona Secretary of State’s standards. This translated to 156,000 likely mismatches countywide and 165,600 failing the standards, yet the county only rejected 587 ballots for mismatched signatures. WPAA discovered that thousands of those same voters voted again in the 2022 election.
The complaint cited free speech violations, pointing to an information-sharing program that Hobbs, Maricopa County Election officials and Richer participated in to provide information to the Election Misinformation Reporting Portal created by the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency. It showed how Hobbs and other officials got election information censored on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The complaint cited a recent Rasmussen Reports poll which found that 72 percent of voters don’t trust Arizona’s election results.
Olsen told The Sun Times that although it’s impossible to trace back the ballots to the voters at this stage, it’s not required by the law to show that the unlawful votes would have gone to a particular candidate.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson has been assigned to the case. The exhibits to the lawsuit will be available soon at SaveArizonaFund.com, Lake’s team said.
If the inauguration of Hobbs takes place, a court can still change the results, as took place in 1916 in a disputed gubernatorial election. Abe Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for Attorney General who trailed his opponent Kris Mayes by 511 votes, filed a lawsuit on Friday, as did Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State who trailed his opponent Adrian Fontes by 120,208 votes.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kari Lake” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.